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Virtual Date Ideas That Spark Chemistry

Dating coach Connell Barrett answers your questions on virtual date ideas, how to not get ghosted, and the secret to flirting.

VIRTUAL DATE IDEAS

I need some virtual-date ideas. Any thoughts? 

—George, Port Chester, N.Y.

“Virtual dating.” It sounds like something Harrison Ford did with a hologram in “Blade Runner.” 

Here are three virtual-date ideas that can help you turn up the chemistry with the lady on the other side of the screen.

LET'S DO BRUNCH

Women love brunch like Juliet loves Romeo. A fun way to do it? Prepare the same recipe at the same time. It will (almost) feel like you’re cooking in the kitchen together, scrambling eggs and pouring coffee. And make sure bubbly is on the menu. It’s not brunch without mimosas.  

MAKE HER SWEAT

You can do yoga together or go for a run or a brisk walk. And when she does her downward-facing dog, you’ll have ample opportunities for flirting. 

GAME ON

In dating, don’t play games AT her (ghosting, bread-crumbing, etc.) Play games WITH her. Words With Friends is a classic option, and there are app versions of Cards Against Humanity and Monopoly. Not only are games a blast, but you don’t have to worry as much about making conversation. Just promise me you won’t go searching for Pikachu. Real men do not play Pokemon. 

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WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT GHOSTING

Why do people ghost? It’s infuriating. Is there anything I can do cut down on it?

—Jake, 51, San Diego

To borrow a line from a classic movie: “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” Or rather, it’s dating. Ghosting is here to stay. Men and women do it.  

Ghosting is the new way of saying, “I’m not that into you,” without actually saying it. And therein lies its appeal: The ghoster avoids sending a painful-for-you-both blow-off message.  

As long as we live in an algorithm-based dating world with limitless options, haters gonna hate, and ghosters gonna ghost. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll feel better. 

To get ghosted less, begin by dating with what I call Radical Authenticity: Show women your best, most awesome self. Learn how to flirt. Buy into your awesomeness. Become the most magnetic you that you can be. 

The better you get at dating, the less you will get ghosted because you’ll be too damned irresistible to too many women. 

But here’s a bold idea: Embrace ghosting. See it as a necessary, and even beneficial, part of dating. 

I think that getting ghosted is good for you for three reasons… 

1: It reveals the other person’s character. You’re finding out who they are now, not down the road. You’d rather get ghosted after two dates, as opposed to two years. They did you a favor. 

2: It thickens your skin. Rejection is part of dating. It just is. Best to accept it, not fear it. The trick? Don’t imbue the ghosting with existential pain. It does NOT mean you’re un-dateable. It only means you’re not her type. 

3: It brings you closer to The One. This is a mathematical fact. You’re going to end up with a wonderful woman, so think of ghosting as one step closer to meeting her. 

Virtual Date Ideas

GETTING DOWN AND FLIRTY 

I just don’t know how to connect with women. I’m so in my head about this. When I flirt, I come across as creepy. But when I don’t flirt, it’s the friend zone. I feel stuck. How the hell do you talk to girls?

—Anonymous

Anonymous—if that IS your real name—it’s not the actual words you use that matter. It’s your vibe. 

If you’re like most men, you talk to women on a more logical, informational wavelength—especially if you work in a field like science, business, or engineering. 

But the secret to flirting—what I call Man-to-Woman Communication—is speaking to women on an emotional wavelength. Men occupy the logical, analytical world of the masculine, but women reply to emotions. 

Research backs this up. A landmark 1995 Yale study found that, in general, men and women use different spheres of the brain, concluding that men are more logically-minded and fact-based, while women feel their emotions more strongly.

When dating, seek to channel a more visceral, emotional side. Women are drawn to the language of feelings and meaning, rather than dry facts and information. Often a cool, attractive guy is friend-zoned because he speaks in a dry, logical way. So for her there’s no spark. 

But it’s a date, not a business lunch. You want to filter your language through an emotional lens, not a logical one. Be Captain Kirk, not Mr. Spock.

I remember the night when I truly got this. I was on a Match.com date, and after a couple drinks and a few hours of flirty conversation, my date said, “Why don’t we go back to your place?” No woman had ever said that to me before.  

Here are two brief descriptions of me that contain the same information. In the first, it’s just the facts, ma’am. In the second, I use language that’s descriptive and emotionally evocative, and I’ve underlined the key phrases. 

LOGICAL: “I’ve lived in New York City for twenty years. I moved here to be a writer. I’m now a dating coach. I also play tennis, sing karaoke, and read books about the Civil War.” 

MAN-TO-WOMAN: “I’ve lived in New York City for twenty wild years. I moved here to follow my dream of being a writer. I’m a dating coach, which lights me up because I help men and women find love. When I’m not throwing my racket like a brat on the tennis court, I sing eighties power ballads on karaoke nights and nerd out on Civil War books.”

The logical description is dry (I almost dozed off typing it), while the latter description has life and heart. 

Here’s a tip: On your next date, start a lot of sentences with these phrases: 

“Here’s how I feel about [topic]…”

“You know what I love about what you just said…

“I felt amazingly [emotion] when that happened…”

Speak the language of emotions, and you’re speaking the language women understand. And they love a guy who speaks their language. 


Connell Barrett is a NYC dating coach , providing dating advice on how to date authentically. He’s helped men all over the world find the women of their dreams. Whether needing help with what to say on tinderfirst date advice, or even sharing dating tips for shy guys, Connell gives actionable dating tips. Connell has appeared on shows like Access Hollywood and The Today Show and in publications such as Cosmopolitan, Maxim, and O Magazine, to name a few. Ask Connell a question below.

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NYC Dating Coach Connell Barrett

106 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

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